Mid-Autumn Festival

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The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important Chinese festivals. The Chinese believe that the seventh, eighth, and ninth lunar months belong to autumn. So the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations date back more than 2,000 years. In feudal times, Chinese emperors prayed to Heaven for a prosperous year. They chose the morning of the 15th day of the second lunar month to worship the sun and the evening of the 15th day of the eighth lunar month to hold a ceremony to honor the moon. In the western district of Beijing is Yuetan Park, which originally was the site for the Temple of Moon. Every year the emperor would go there to offer a sacrifice to the moon.
The significance of the mid-autumn for the common people is easy to comprehend. Around this time every year, the farmers would have just finished gathering the crops and bringing in the fruits from the orchards. A whole year’s hard work has finally paid off and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Mid-autumn thus came to widely celebrated by the average person as the harvest festival, family festival and food festival rolled into one.
People in different parts of China have different ways to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, but all Chinese share one tradition. This is eating the festive specialty: cakes shaped like the moon.
Originally, moon cakes were a family tradition. But gradually they began to appear at markets and stores. The moon cakes made in different parts of the country have very different flavors. For instance, Beijing moon cakes have a thin crust and fillings of bean and jujube pastes that give them a unusually sweet taste.
Suzhou moon cakes are known for their crowd-pleasing secret ingredients. Guangdong moon cakes are perhaps the most delicately made: the fillings are carefully selected and include sesame, almond and walnut kernels, shredded coconut, lotus seeds and egg yolk. So don’t forget to taste all the delicious moon cakes when the Mid-Autumn Festival stops by.

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